There is much discussion around whether or not meat is a great idea for our diets. Some have ranged from ethical to cultural/religious and health reasons. Other fears about meat diets have hinged on how sustainable the meat industry is with meat consumption per capita more than doubling in the past half-century alone in line with population growth.
In the circumstances in which most of us will be living, there is not a straight yes or no answer to why meats may or may not be beneficial to our health. It’s needless to say that for enthusiasts against meat diets like Vegans and vegetarians, the array of options we have when we walk into a supermarket, mean that it’s possible to prepare tasty and nutritious meals without buying meat while it doesn’t make necessarily unethical for one to buy meat.
Even on ethical or cultural reasons, it’s still not wrong to eat meat if you were faced with a situation such as starvation and there were nothing else to eat, or if the meat came from roadkill in which case the meat would have to go to waste. It could also be in rare circumstances where eating meat does no harm, or less harm than any alternative. Ethical reasons against meat diets hinge on the notions that animals cannot be raised with the intention of ending their life short for human consumption.
In short, reasons for not eating meat on ethical and cultural grounds are circumstantial. But what about health reasons? We look at those below.
The main health reasons against meat diets are based on the central tenet that we essentially do not need meat to survive and live healthy lives. Vegetables, fruits, dairy products and grains that have not been highly processed (such as white flour) provide all of the necessary nutrients we require to live healthy lives.
Vegetarianism, a concept that has been around us for a long time now widely believes that it is possible for someone to be vegetarian all their life and lead a healthy life (much of India is healthy and much of India is vegetarian - albeit, mostly due to religious beliefs)
You will lose weight by reducing your meat consumption. This is because meat can be a significant source of calories in the diets. Cutting back on this can only be a good thing for any weight loss plans. To put in context, a 3-ounce serving of pork ranges from 120 calories for roasted tenderloin to 330 calories for braised spare rib.
While there is still much heated debate on the effects of unprocessed red meat, such as beef, pork, or lamb on diabetes, what’s not for debate is the risk from processed meat. The Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) conducted a systematic review to distinguish between types of meat. This review concluded that eating processed meat was associated with a 19% higher risk of type 2 diabetes. Reducing its intake should directly improve risk of diabetes or help manage the condition.
In the USA alone, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), says high blood pressure is "the second greatest public health threat. Research has shown that removing meat from the diet led to blood pressure reductions similar to losing five kilos of body weight or a little more than eleven pounds.
Many arthritis sufferers have noticed an improvement in their condition when they avoid certain foods in their diets such as dairy products, citrus fruits, tomatoes, eggplant and certain other foods. A 1989 survey of over one thousand arthritis patients through up some interesting facts showing that the foods most commonly believed to worsen the condition were red meat, sugar, fats, salt, caffeine, and nightshade plants. Once the offending food was eliminated completely, sufferers saw improvement in their condition within a few weeks.
Eating red meats is directly linked to a much higher chance of heart failure, diabetes and several other diseases. Cholesterol that causes all these is mainly found in highly processed foods (such as cereals, canned foods, deep-fried foods, etc.), animal meat (any kind - even lean meat) and dairy products.
Research is now unanimous in the view that processed meat is a ‘definite’ cause of cancer while red meat is a ‘probable’ cause. For one, bowel cancer is evidenced to be common among people who eat the most red and processed meat.
Meats create an acidic internal environment in our bodies that can lead to discomfort caused by ACNE. It’s something believed that ACNE is the body’s external sign that something isn’t right internally. Reducing meats in your diet should quickly help improve your ACNEBut let’s say, you still love a bit of meat. Did you know that reducing your intake will directly impact on the carbon footprint that happens to grow exponentially by eating meat. It requires many more resources to raise livestock, kill it, process it and ship it out from factories than it does to grow more vegetables, grains and fruit for direct human consumption which mainly be found in local markets. Besides the actual carbon footprint, the ecological damage you contribute to marine life is devastating.